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Lieberman Helps Collect Cash for Collins

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) is never going to win any popularity contests among his party's liberal base -- a fact he seems decidedly unconcerned about despite his 2006 Democratic primary loss to Ned Lamont.

Democrats' 2000 vice-presidential nominee Joe Lieberman, left, is helping raise money for Republican Susan Collins of Maine, right. (Getty Images)

Not only has Lieberman endorsed Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine.) -- one of Democrats' biggest targets in the 2008 cycle -- but he's planning to co-host a fundraiser for her on June 21 in Washington, D.C.

The event, which will be held in a Capitol Hill location still to be determined, will feature Lieberman and Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) -- a very rare bipartisan fundraiser. Attendees are being asked to raise $3,000; $2,000 would come in the form of a political action committee donation while the other $1,000 would be a personal contribution, according to an electronic invite for the fundraiser obtained today by The Fix.

"Let's try to make this a bi-partisan tour de force," reads the invite.

"Senator Specter approached Senator Collins with the idea of doing a joint fundraising event with Senator Lieberman," said Collins spokeswoman Jen Burita. "Both senators are colleagues with whom she works well and good friends, so we thought it was a great idea."

Lieberman's willingness to work openly for Collins's reelection will surely not sit well with Democratic strategists who want Rep. Tom Allen (D) to oust the two-term incumbent. For Lieberman, his support of Collins is payback. She was one of a handful of senators who campaigned for him in the general election following his loss in the Democratic primary to Lamont. (He ran for and won reelection as an independent.) Lieberman and Collins also serve together as the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in the Senate.

The Republican strategy in the race is clearly to kill Allen's candidacy in the crib. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is up with an Internet ad that dissects Allen's own Web announcement.

Despite the state's Democratic lean -- John Kerry won it by 9 points in 2004 -- Collins cruised to victory in 2002 over a candidate that Democrats were certain could beat her. Collins benefited from President Bush's overall popularity and the strength of the Republican brand at that time.

Over the past six years much has changed. Democrats will work to hang Bush and the war in Iraq around Collins's neck, but the junior Senator from Maine has shown a willingness to punch back when necessary.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 14, 2007; 5:06 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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